What is Marriage?

This article from Touchstone is incisive, cutting like a surgeon's scalpel through the cultural mileu surrounding marriage to expose the cancer beneath.

The premise of the article is that marriage, in addition to being the union between a man and a woman, is two other things that have largely been forgotten today: procreative and indissoluble. Because the church has forgotten these things--that marriage is life-long and that it ought to be fruitful--and has instead allowed couples to marry who hold onto the option of divorce (even if looked at diaspprovingly) and who use contraception so as to avoid God's gift of life through their one-flesh union, she has already lost the debate on same-sex "marriage."

If Christian couples can separate marriage from having children, there is no socially defensible reason to exclude same-sex couples from having a culturally recognized marriage.

Is the Church willing to say that divorce is just as sinful as adultery or that contraception is as sinful as divorce? Is she willing to admit that divorce and cohabitation are cut from the same cloth, just as contraception and and abortion hail from the same anti-birth, anti-child mindset?

The article concludes:

If we are truly to defend marriage in this country, and not the contractual couplehood that has for some time now been disguising itself as “marriage,” then it is imperative for us to recover the full meaning of that beautiful covenant whose embodiment is now clandestine and highly countercultural. This will, I think, have to be done from the ground up, and it will take generations to succeed, if in fact it succeeds at all. It will have to be lived out first in small communities that embrace and support the self-giving, procreative, and indissoluble nature of that union, and who do so not as an unjustifiable exclusion, but as a positive commitment to protect such an important, difficult, and beautiful undertaking.

Don't take my word for it, go read the whole thing.


Robert said...

In addition to "procreative" and "indissoluble" I would add "monogamous."

Besides being non-procreative, gay relationships are notoriously unfaithful, while lesbian relationships are short-lived.

The one-flesh union of one man to one woman for life is the only proper, time-tested way to order the human sex drive and to further the species.

All other aberrations cause heaps o' trouble.

Robert at bioethike.com

Pastor Jeff Hemmer said...

Yes, marriage is obviously monogamous. But the author's point is that monogamy by itself is a poor reason to oppose same-sex marriage when many opposite-sex marriages are not monogamous. The rare life-long and monogamous same-sex relationship cannot make the case for same-sex marriages is marriage is also understood to be procreative.

Pastor Jeff Hemmer said...

"is" should be "if"

Robert said...

The author's point is that there is more to marriage than just one aspect. He uses the term "contractual couplehood" as the definition de jour of marriage, which contrasts with what marriage actually is.

The Church, unfortunately and to a great degree, has accepted the contemporary definition as well, vis-a-vis procreation (by allowing contraception) and indissolubility (by allowing divorce).

Where most churches still hold the line is at monogamy (at least during the legal relationship), but that too might change.

Robert at bioethike.com